Definition of Cultural Equity
Cultural equity embodies the values, policies, and practices that ensure that all people—including but not limited to those who have been historically underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizenship status, or religion—are represented in the development of arts policy; the support of artists; the nurturing of accessible, thriving venues for expression; and the fair distribution of programmatic, financial, and informational resources.
Acknowledgements & Affirmations
- In the United States, there are systems of power that grant privilege and access unequally such that inequity and injustice result, and that must be continuously addressed and changed.
- Cultural equity is critical to the long-term viability of the arts sector.
- We must all hold ourselves accountable, because acknowledging and challenging our inequities and working in partnership is how we will make change happen.
- Everyone deserves equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to a healthy and democratic society.
- The prominent presence of artists challenges inequities and encourages alternatives.
In keeping with our ongoing work around cultural equity, Americans for the Arts has prepared the following statement concerning harassment and misconduct.
Americans for the Arts in all matters related to employees, board members, committee and task force members or volunteers is guided by a set of principles outlined in our Board of Directors manual, Employee Handbook, Values Statement, and our Statement on Cultural Equity, which was unanimously adopted by the Americans for the Arts Board of Directors in 2016. In these statements Americans for the Arts embraces values, policies and practices that ensure that all people are represented and treated fairly in the work of our mission, places of work, and delivery of service, without regard to race/ethnicity, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, geography, citizen status, genetic predisposition, marital status or religion. When accusations of inequity arise, including harassment on the basis of any of these characteristics, whether verbal, physical, or any other, Americans for the Arts is committed to taking corrective action against such inequities within our policies, systems, programs, affiliations, and services. Such corrective action may include discontinuing relations with or to taking disciplinary action against anyone found to have violated this policy, whether employee, contractor, board member, volunteer, customer, member, vendor or other. Americans for the Arts will deliberately and swiftly investigate every accusation.
Modeling Through Action
To provide informed, authentic leadership for cultural equity, we strive to…
- Pursue cultural consciousness throughout our organization through substantive learning and formal, transparent policies.
- Acknowledge and dismantle any inequities within our policies, systems, programs, and services, and report organization progress.
- Commit time and resources to expand more diverse leadership within our board, staff, and advisory bodies.
Fueling Field Progress
To pursue needed systemic change related to equity, we strive to…
- Encourage substantive learning to build cultural consciousness and to proliferate pro-equity policies and practices by all of our constituencies and audiences.
- Improve the cultural leadership pipeline by creating and supporting programs and policies that foster leadership that reflects the full breadth of American society.
- Generate and aggregate quantitative and qualitative research related to equity to make incremental, measurable progress towards cultural equity more visible.
- Advocate for public and private-sector policy that promotes cultural equity.
The Board of Directors of Americans for the Arts would like to acknowledge the original board members, artists, staff, and community leaders who, in 1988, came together to create Americans for the Arts’ first diversity statement.
Download the Statement on Cultural Equity
Below is a PDF of Americans for the Arts’ Statement on Cultural Equity. We’ve also included an editable version in Word for your convenience to use as a working model for your organization if needed.